September 14, 2011 — The Virginia Festival of the Book, produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, has announced three of its major speakers for the 18th annual Virginia Festival of the Book, to be held March 20 to 25 in Charlottesville.
The lineup features Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond, former dean of the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences and a renowned historian; writer of James Bond thrillers Jeffery Deaver, an international bestselling author; and former West Virginia and pro-basketball player Jerry West, co-author of "West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life" with Charlottesville's Jonathan Coleman.
Tickets for the two luncheons and the Leadership Breakfast – all to be held at Charlottesville's Omni Hotel – go on sale Thursday via the festival's website. Those interested in securing tickets to these events should book early; in the past, these events have sold out months in advance. When placing orders, have contact information ready (including email, if available), mailing address and credit card information. Tickets must be paid for when the order is placed.
Additional presenters will be announced later, said Nancy Damon, book festival program director. Another 125 or more events will be free and open to the public.
Watch the festival website for announcements regarding additional presenters. The festival presents free programs for readers of all ages at venues throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle County, including Piedmont Virginia Community College and the University of Virginia.
The schedule of the festival's major speakers:
• Edward L. Ayers
March 22, 11:45 a.m., Charlottesville Omni
Luncheon co-sponsor: SunTrust Bank of Charlottesville
Ayers is the co-editor with Carolyn R. Martin of "America on the Eve of the Civil War." A nationally known expert on the Civil War and Virginia history, he is one of the "History Guys" on the popular show "BackStory," heard on public radio outlets, and is on the advisory committee of "Encyclopedia Virginia."
Currently president of the University of Richmond, he previously was a history professor and held the post of dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at U.Va.
In 1997, Ayers helped found and served as the first director of the Virginia Center for Digital History. He received the Bancroft Prize for Distinguished Books in American History and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.
• Jeffery Deaver
"Crime Wave" Luncheon
March 24, noon, Charlottesville Omni
Deaver was chosen by Ian Fleming Publications to write the most recent James Bond book, "Carte Blanche." Bond joins other favorite Deaver characters such as Lincoln Rymes and Kathryn Dance.
Deaver has been awarded the Steel Dagger and Short Story Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association and the Nero Wolfe Award. He is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader's Award for Best Short Story of the Year and a winner of the British Thumping Good Read Award. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages.
• Jerry West
March 21, Charlottesville Omni
Reserved tables: $500, individual tickets: $40
West grew up in West Virginia and played basketball at West Virginia University, followed by a stellar career with the Los Angeles Lakers as a player, coach and general manager. After stints as general manager with the Memphis Grizzlies and as a television color commentator, he is now a consultant for the Golden State Warriors. His was well known as "Mr. Clutch" and as the model for the NBA logo, a silhouette of West in his playing days. "West by West" chronicles a life of triumph and adversity, celebrations and disappointments and being a leader and a team player.
For information, contact Susan Coleman, director of the Virginia Center of the Book, at 434-982-2983 or email@example.com.